Grace (n): the free and unmerited favor of God

It may seem strange to be talking about the favor of God at a time when we have just gone through radical surgery to remove cancer from Holly’s 33-year old body. But God’s favor is exactly what has been upon us lately.

Grace is not the absence of pain — it’s not an easy life. Grace is God stepping into your pain and showing His goodness by making a way out. Ephesians 2 says it like this:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.

You see, without the death there would be no grace. Without cancer, we would have missed out on so many ways to see His unmerited favor in our lives.

Mary Ida as one of our team members tended to her wounds.

Mary Ida as one of our team members tended to her wounds.

When I was in Uganda, I saw two things that made His grace more clear. One was Mary Ida — an elderly, emaciated woman literally laying in the dirt waiting to die. Everyone in the community simply passed her by without a 2nd thought.

The second thing was visiting a clinic for HIV+ kids. The pediatrician explained that they advised the HIV+ moms to breastfeed their kids, knowing it would almost certainly lead to them contracting HIV as well. They did this because the alternative was the kids dying of malnutrition.

So to me, Grace is…

…living where the community cares if my wife lives or dies.

…having to make choices between reconstruction options, not HIV vs death by malnutrition.

…a free trip to Africa.

…world-class surgeons who work for 13 hours to not just get rid of all the cancer, but go to extremes to make you look the way you did before they started.

…God providing money to pay for it all.

…people we don’t even know bringing us amazing food everyday.

…family who drops everything to be by your side in a time of need.

…an endless stream of friends almost begging to be able to do something for us.

…God providing the strength to fly 25 hours back from Africa and have minimal jetlag so I can be there to care for my wife.

…two amazing kids who are excited Mommy is cancer free so we can start adopting.

…God stepping into our pain, and being more real to us than He ever has before.

There is nothing in me that merits me getting any of these things more than Mary Ida or the kids at the HIV clinic. I have no idea why Jesus would show us such favor — but thank you Jesus.


  1. Amy Savage · September 25, 2009


    Wow. What a beautiful post. God’s grace is certainly present in your lives right now as many people wouldn’t have the ability to write the words you just did in the midst of what you are facing. I am in awe of a God who IS indeed rich in mercy and am privileged to see that mercy at work in your family right now. Thank you for being a vessel through which His grace flows. Praying for continued outpouring of it on your family. Much love to you all.

  2. Erin Moore · September 25, 2009

    beautiful. I’m speechless.

  3. wendihenry · September 29, 2009

    having just been with your family, this adds such perspective…and you are right, Grace is being poured out in abundance…thank you Jesus, indeed!